We are living in very strange times. The rapid rise of a global pandemic completely reshaping businesses and economies overnight wasn’t something anyone foresaw at the start of the year – but six months in, that is very much the reality of how we are living. And while things are slowly starting to ease up, with many countries gradually lifting some restrictions, it is clear that the situation is going to cause ripples for quite a while to come. Remote working has made sense for a while but was something a lot of industries continued to resist, but it seems likely that changes such as that will be hard to reverse. So what will the world of work look like as we slowly embrace a new normal?

Flexible Boundaries Will Be The Norm

The lines between working and personal lives have been steadily blurring for a while, thanks to the relentless march of technology. And yet this current crisis has accelerated this effect to the point of no return with so many of us working from home. The idea that we need to report to an office in order to work is being rubbished – in fact, studies have shown that home-based workers are some of the most productive. Many people have awkwardly tried to juggle business with childcare and other responsibilities for a while – there is likely to now be an acknowledgment that most modern work does not depend on set hours performed in one solid block, and in fact that might not even be conducive to our best output. 

Frequent And More Distanced Communication

One of the ways that businesses have adapted due to COVID-19 is to utilize new communication tools to stay connected. Instant messaging and video calls have overtaken email to be the preferred channels, and this habit will be hard to break post-pandemic. We may also not be able to rely on close contact working and events such as large scale conferences anymore, which will make the role of virtual conferencing platforms even more important. 

More Room For The Human Touch

Of all the many negative side effects of the current disaster, one of the nice side effects has been more of an emphasis on humanity. The immediacy and levelling effect of the virus has meant that asking genuine questions about employee wellbeing and mental health is no longer an afterthought – they have become a big part of the discussion. Talking about how we really feel has had an accelerated normalization that won’t be easily lost – and empathy is now becoming highly prized as a leadership trait, with emotional intelligence being a hot topic among upper management.

While the full effects of the current crisis will take quite some time to reveal themselves, it is pretty certain that the world will not be able to resume seamlessly without some fairly fundamental changes. With a little insight, we can make sure that these takeaways are the right ones, and that we ensure the changes COVID-19 leaves in our working lives are the right ones.

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